ESP + Design—an advanced English language program with a design focus

ESP + Design students improve their English and gain knowledge of design history and modern design issues while participating in the Master of Design program.

IIT Institute of Design offers a unique program of study that combines English for Special Purpose instruction with graduate-level design education. The program is taught over two semesters concurrently with coursework in the Design Masters program. Its goal is to help students from outside of the US perfect their English fluency inside, and outside, of the classroom. (Students with TOEFL scores between 80-100 may be required to enroll.) In ESP + Design, students broaden their design vocabulary and increase their understanding of design in the US.


  First semester (typical)   Second semester (typical)
  • Design Reading, Writing & Vocabulary Skills I
  • Design Listening & Presentation Skills I
  • Cross-Cultural Communication Lab I
  • Design seminar*
  • Prototyping Methods*
  • Fundamentals of Communication*
  • Design Reading, Writing & Vocabulary Skills II
  • Design Listening & Presentation Skills II
  • Cross-Cultural Communication Lab II
  • Building and Understanding Context workshop*
  • Product, Communication, or Interaction workshop*

*Design electives that can be modified with approval of faculty and advisors. 

Students in the ESP + Design program complete 18 additional credit hours of instruction while pursuing their design courses. This adds approximately one semester total to the standard MDES program.

ESP + Design Benefits

  • Attend classes at the ID campus in downtown Chicago
  • Access to many cultural sites and the rich design community in Chicago
  • Learn from full-time faculty and certified ESL faculty
  • Share studio space with all ID students
  • Participate in annual conferences, student activity boards, the End of Year Show, parties, and more


View ESP + Design courses

For those students with TOEFL less than 80 or equivalent, IIT offers intensive English programs to consider. Please read more here.


Application Deadlines

Spring 2019 admission
September 21, 2018 (early round)
November 2, 2018 (final round)

Late applications may be considered, please contact us.

Fall 2019 admission
January 18, 2019 (early round)
March 1, 2019 (final round)

Admission to the MDes program with Foundation is offered for the fall semester only. Your application must be completed by 5 p.m. (CST/Chicago time) on the due date to be considered for that round. You will receive an email confirmation when all of your materials have been received. Admission decisions will be communicated roughly four weeks after this confirmation.

More Information

For more information about our ESP + Design program, please contact: